Archive for the ‘Catholicism’ Category

I thought it a stroke of genius to have the stations of the cross performed by Joesph Cardinal Zen of China. The Vatican has a link to the cards them made for this year. It’s in Italian so you’ll have to translate it.

I think this reflects the high priority of the Papacy in praying for those in China and for diplomatic relations with their gov’t.

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I expect that there will be much written about the Pope’s coming visit to the US. I think perhaps the media will focus on social issues or comments the pope may make and how such statements might effect Catholic voters in the coming elections. But for Catholics I think perhaps there will be no greater issue then on APril 17, when the Pope will engage the 200 top Catholic school officials from across the country. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pope received the same type of reception as he did at the former Catholic university in Rome la-sapienza university 2 months ago.

In First Things Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wrote an article entitled “A University of a Particular Kind”. There is in this country two kinds of universities – Secular and Christian. Neither are neutral in their worldview, but since there are so many more secular universities most people receiving that type of education would consider secular to be neutral. It’s not, its existance is hostile to the Christian theos. This does not mean it shouldn’t exist, however the inroads of secular thought into Catholic universities has been significant and clearly harmful to the church. If one believes the Cardinal Newman Society it has recommended 20 of the 235 U.S. Catholic colleges “which most faithfully live their Catholic identity and provide a quality undergraduate education”. In this day and age I amazed its that high.

Catholic universities have been able to give lip service to Catholic parents who believe that their child will receive a “Catholic” higher education. However, whenever the rare bishop is willing to hold the university accountable to that standard, the normal spin or party line if you will goes like this: in seeking truth & academic excellence, placing Catholic teaching or a Catholic environment in higher education would inhibit academic freedom.

If any one would doubt this position, I draw this conclusion from none other then the famous Land O’ Lakes Statement crafted by Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh President of Notre Dame University back in 1967. One either hailed this position as a stand for academic freedom or viewed it as a divorce between Catholic education in this country and the Catholic church. IMO the latter is clearly demonstrated.

My biggest issue with Rev. Hesburg and those who support his position is that they disagree with the Catholic church on positions already settle and therefore not open to debate, yet they run their universities directly against those ideals, and they are unwilling to advise the Catholic parents who expect that their young Johnny’s faith will not be undermined, but actually reinforced what was taught in their home.

The Washington Post may prove me wrong about the media not picking up on this one Catholic College Leaders Expect Pope to Deliver Stern Message

Ex-corde-ecclesia written by Pope John Paul II in 1989 will finally be implemented into Catholic universities. Or at least I hope it will.

With every other University it shares that gaudium de veritate, so precious to Saint Augustine, which is that joy of searching for, discovering and communicating truth(2) in every field of knowledge. A Catholic University’s privileged task is “to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth”(3).

I don’t expect that the Pope will get anything but lip service. My only hope is that the Pope will place them on notice and advise the general Catholic population that these institutions will be striped of any formal association, and prohibited from claiming any Catholic identity.

As the washington post article stated David Gibson, the author of a Benedict biography, said the pope will ask, “If you’re not going to be an authentically Catholic, orthodox institution, why should you exist?”


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A Case of Demonic Possession

It seems like there’s a lot of activity going on in New York right now. The individual who observed this excorism is

Richard E. Gallagher, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in Hawthorne, New York, and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at New York Medical College. He is also on the faculties of the Columbia University Psychoanalytic Institute and a Roman Catholic seminary. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University, magna cum laude in Classics, and trained in Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.

The New Oxford Review has the full article of the case. While there may be natural explanations for this as a believer I know demons exist.

With a team of priests, deacons, several lay assistants, psychiatrists, nuns, some of whom also had medical and psychiatric training,

However, it would be difficult to disprove. In the end either one believes that there are malevolent forces or not and no evidence one way or the other will likely change ones view.

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I think this was more then symbol over substance here. 100 years ago the idea of the Pope & the Ecumenical Patriarch praying together [in latin no less] would be impossible. The Catholic Herald has a solid reivew of the event.

“Orthodoxy,” he said, “was the common responsibility and obligation of all.”

He said, the liturgy – a communal celebration – was the place where the community learned, expressed and strengthened its faith. “Whereas the gradual development in the West of a juridical source of authority led to an understanding of liturgical rites more as external signs, Eastern Christianity visualised liturgy as an authoritative criterion of faith and ethics”, seen, for example, in the practice of quoting liturgical texts in support of a theological argument, he said.

I think this is an excellent point. Although I think perhaps the reformation may have had a hand in this practice in that Catholics would not refer to liturgical texts in support of Catholic positions because it would be dismissed out of hand. Perhaps thats someting to reconsider.

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Asia news reports on the murder of yet another Iraqi martyr this time it was Archbishop Rahho. May he pray for us all in heaven and especially for his war torn country. The spiritual work of mercy- ransoming of captives needs to move up to the top 5 on B16 list of things to promote globally. As I say awhile back The lost art of mercy is now alien to western civilization. For all our Christians(Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant) nows the time to step and embrace the cross. That’s the message of the Gospel, not the “purpose-driven” or “Oprah driven” life.

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In the United states the church doesn’t nor is it permitted to take funds from the state in support of primary education. This has served the church well in the 20th century and hurt it at least initially in the 18 & 19th centuries.

In England Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue made an impassioned plea to allow for the most shocking of ideas. His point in the article here UK Catholic Bishop Before Parliament for Insisting on Crucifixes in Every Classroom

“Every school has a philosophy. And a philosophy which puts God at the centre and morality as objective, is no less powerful than that which says God is irrelevant and morality is up to the individual choice.”

The Labour Party MP for Huddersfield, Barry Sheerman came out with what I would have to say is a classic

It seems to me that faith education works all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith. But as soon as there is a more doctrinaire attitude questions have to be asked.

MP Fiona McTaggart said she found it “surprising” that the document bans the various fundraising activities such as the Red Nose day, and Amnesty International, in which children were encouraged to support anti-family and pro-abortion organizations and activities. She also objected to the instruction to remove materials from school libraries that “contain polemic against religion in general” such as the works of Karl Marx and French nihilist philosopher Albert Camus.

Well with England at a staggering fertility replacement rate of 1.7, I doubt she’ll have to worry about such issue in 30 years with their approaching Demographic Winter

The state needs to recognize that if the church doesn’t take up the education then the state will have to spend a substantial increase in funding to operate more state run schools. And the church needs to recognize that the money taken in from the state comes at far to high a price to lose one’s faith. Thankfully, Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue is following the tradition of St. John Fisher rather the the first bishop to handle money Judas. I wish him well, but I think it easier to with draw from the secular state in toto, rather then dance with it half way.

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Thomas Malthus back in 1798 came up with the theory
I think I may fairly make two postulata. First, That food is necessary to the existence of man. Secondly, That the passion between the sexes is necessary and will remain nearly in its present state. These two laws, ever since we have had any knowledge of mankind, appear to have been fixed laws of our nature, and, as we have not hitherto seen any alteration in them, we have no right to conclude that they will ever cease to be what they now are, without an immediate act of power in that Being who first arranged the system of the universe, and for the advantage of his creatures, still executes, according to fixed laws, all its various operations.

Assuming then my postulata as granted, I say, that the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man. Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Essay on the Principle of Population -Chapter 1.
Paul Ehrlich has taken up this theory into modern times. He published a book entitled the Population Bomb in 1968 and when his predictions failed he “updated” his theory in 1990 with the Population Explosion.


Today IMO more rational minds are at work.

A new documentary filmdemographic_winter0.jpg called Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family deals with the indicators that not only are we not going to undergo a population explosion, but there are strong trends that many cultures will radically decrease or possibly die out.The Heritage Foundation has the director of this film on media player here.

The world population increased from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion by 1999, a doubling that occurred over 40 years. The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest projections imply that population growth will continue into the 21st century, although more slowly. The world population is projected to grow from 6 billion in 1999 to 9 billion by 2042, an increase of 50 percent that will require 43 years.

Total Fertility Rate projected in 2045
Belgium-1.69;France-1.75;Germany-1.67;Ireland-1.72;Italy-1.65;Luxembourg-1.71;Netherlands-1.70; Norway-1.71;Poland-1.65;Portugal-1.67;Russia-1.66;Spain-1.65;Sweden-1.70;

Switzerland-1.67;United Kingdom-1.70

To put it mildly – Europe is dying. The only industrialized nation on earth reaching the breakeven replacement value of 2.1 is the USA. We will reach 9 billion people in the world by 2050. But by 2100 it may well drop to 4.9 billion

Bishop Thomas Doran wrote last year Reaping the Whirlwind of Abortion .

If stats about the population say anything it’s that as a global society we have to protect the family(economically, spiritually, and legally). Abortion, contraception, divorce, the rise of cohabitation, families putting off procreation to pursue careers & euthanasia are going to place such a strain on those currently under 10 years of age, when they grow up and face a Europe with 1/3 the population over age 65 and when they die Europe’s population will be cut in half.

The USA while it is projected to hold replacement values, it has as a culture that supports all the factors that place pressure in lowering the fertility rate. The culture of death. Immigration won’t stop the decline.

Russia has started a program of paying couples to have children Can Russia Reverse its Demographic Crisis?

In May 2006, family allowances were doubled for the first child and multiplied by four for the second child. A one-time payment of 250,000 rubles ($9,700) will also be deposited in a special account after a second child is born, but will be released only when the child is three and its use is limited to expenses that will primarily benefit the child, such as tuition or mortgage payments.

The problem is it hasn’t worked at least not yet.

The Vatican has for decades not only decried the methods of human self-annihilation, but implored for support of the family.FAMILY, MARRIAGE AND “DE FACTO” UNIONS, and CHARTER OF THE RIGHTS OF THE FAMILY&FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO

The church is slow to adapt in many areas which is a strength and weakness, but because of its’ unwavering position against abortion, contraception, divorce and euthanasia has been the rock against humanity seeking to destroy itself.

Global mass migration, cloning as a way to stave off replacement rates, euthanasia to reduce the tax burden on the young. I don’t envy the young in their forced choices from flawed decisions of the baby boomers and gen-x er’s. Reaping the whirlwind indeed.

Updated: First Things also has a great article on it as well. The barren Left

Unlike the Black Death of the Middle Ages, which filled up the graveyards of the continent, the new epidemic of voluntary infertility empties out the maternity wards. And it is not the result of bacteria that infect our bodies but rather anti-natal thoughts that invade our minds. These are reinforced by an economic system that puts a premium on expanding the workforce at the expense of maternity, as well as a political system that weakens families, putting those with children at a financial disadvantage that is both unjust and shortsighted. The peoples of Europe, along with those of every other developed nation and many as yet underdeveloped, for some time now have been refusing to provide for the future in the most fundamental way—by providing the next generation…As a result, the current population of 728 million will plunge to only 557 million by the year 2050, a drop similar in magnitude to that occurring during the Black Death. At that point, Europe will be losing three to four million people a year. Three out of four Europeans will have disappeared by the end of the twenty-first century, when the population will number only 207 million. By then the population decline will be irreversible, with the surviving Europeans averaging more than sixty years of age.

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This is driving me nuts. I have read in several places where Pope Benedict XVI is having discussion on writting a document on Luther and lifting the excommunication edit on Luther. The London Times has a rumor article on the Pope issuing on in the fall.

Here at least is someone that went to the wizard and received a functioning brain and dispels the rumor.

Here is another link to what the current pope thought on the topic 20 some years ago. It’s well worth the read. Ratzinger on Luther – Communio 11: Fall, 1984luther.jpg

I expect some favorable points made on Luther by the Pope this summer or fall, but those who think the excommunication on Luther would be lifted are grossly misinformed or have grossly been mislead in religious education, especially in the area of papal authority.

You see the church (including the Pope) has no authority over the dead. Judgement does indeed come from God, so the Pope does not have any authority to lift the sentence against Luther, nor would such a gesture be fruitful. It’s moot- he’s dead and God has judged him [for good or for ill]. I hesitate in using the word “has” with respect to God since this is performed in eternity, but hopefully my point is understood.

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Cuba invites Catholic monks to set up new monastery Some folks attack the church or run from God after a perceived hurt and after a long life are unable to trun back to Him as they approach death. Castro suppressed all Catholic radio, TV, expropriates all religious schools (about 350 Catholic), denied parents the right to raise their children, public school denied belief in God. He forced into exile 3,400 Catholic religious priests & nuns.

Before he gave up power to his brother Castro invited the Benedictines to establish a monastery. Perhaps even he will seek God forgiveness before he departs this earth.

Munich – Cuba has invited the Catholic Church to open a new monastery on the island and a German Benedictine order said Wednesday it would send four monks to establish a “spiritual centre.”The church has been officially banned in the past from building new churches on the communist island.

The four monks will be provided by the Missionary Benedictines, also known as the Ottilien Congregation, an order of monks with its world headquarters at Landsberg am Lech, west of Munich.

The new site will be in the archdiocese of Havana, the order’s spokesman said.

The foundation had been requested by the archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, and had been expressly approved by Fidel Castro before his retirement last month as Cuban leader.

The spokesman said Cuban authorities had been helpful in the preparations to set up the monastery, which was likely to open this year.

One of the monks would come from the headquarters abbey, St Odilia at Landsberg, where 110 men practise manual trades as part of their religious vows. The order is a splinter from the Benedictines, the Catholic Church’s oldest religious order.

It was understood that Castro had insisted that one of the four monks with farm experience be skilled in cheese-making. The “Maximo Lider” as he is known in Cuba is said to be fond of cheese.

The spokesman said Cardinal Ortega hoped the Benedictines would give the church in Cuba “fresh spiritual impetus.”

The church has been banned for decades from the Cuban media, but last month Cuban state-controlled television broadcast live a mass celebrated in Havana’s cathedral square by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the visiting Vatican secretary of state.

Bertone visited Cuba February 20-26 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the late Pope John Paul’s trip to the island.

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These figures are off much from what we had in the past few years.  There was a 1.5% increase in 2005. What’s interesting IMO is that the faith is increasing at greater then the general population in areas where the faith is under direct attack from the gov’t or is below the 20% of the countries overall population.  IOW quality produces quanity when under difficult times, where as quanity does not produce quality if there is no difficulty in living out ones faith. The areas were societies have high abortions, high divorce rates and low adherents to church attendance and doctrines of the faith are lukewarm and decreasing.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The number of Catholics in the world is increasing, if not by much: they were 1.31 billion in 2006, an increase of 1.4% compared to the 1.15 billion in 2005.  And there is a continuation of the trend that since 2000 has seen an increase in the number of priests, both diocesan and religious, who went from 406,411 in 2005 to 407,262 in 2006, an overall change of 0.21%.  These are some of the figures contained in the Annuario Pontificio for 2008, presented this morning by the pope.Observing the presence of Catholics in relation to the number of the inhabitants of the various continents, it can be noted that Catholics make up 14% of the population of the population of the Americas, while the Americas have 49.8% of Catholics in the world.  Catholics make up just a slightly smaller percentage of Europe’s population, but its importance in the Catholic world is clearly lower than that of the American countries (25%).  The proportion of Catholics in Asia is at 10.5%, lower than the continent’s percentage of the world population, which is at around 61%.

But the trend of the number of priests present in Asia is on the rise.  Observing the distribution of priests by region, in fact, one can observe a decline in the presence of priests in Europe and America compared to Africa and Asia.  In terms of percentage, in fact, while in 2000 the overall number of priests working in Europe and the Americas represented 81% of the total, in 2006 they  dropped to 78%. The most striking positive variation is seen in Africa, where the proportion of priests in 2006 stood at around 8% of the worldwide total. In Asia, too, the number of priests moved higher, passing from 43,566 in 2000 to 51,281 in 2006.

There has also been growth in the number of those preparing for the priesthood. There are 115,480  students of philosophy and theology in the diocesan or religious seminaries, an increase of 0.9% compared to the previous year; 24,034 are in Africa, 37,150 in the Americas, 30,702 in Asia, 22,618 in Europe, and 976 in Oceania.

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